The Aeros’ season is only a week old, but two holdovers from last season have emerged as the team’s top hitters.
Center fielder Tim Fedroff and shortstop Juan Diaz entered Friday night’s game against the Trenton Thunder with .500 and .304 batting averages, respectively. They occupy the top two spots in the batting order.
Diaz, 23, said being back at Canal Park for his second tour of duty has been enjoyable.
“I feel more comfortable,” Diaz said. “I have been here before and seen some of the same guys. Obviously, a lot of the pitchers that I face are different than last year.”
Fedroff came into Friday with nine hits in 18at-bats, four RBI and five runs scored. Diaz has seven hits in 23 at bats and five RBI.
“I come to play hard every day,” Diaz said. “I work on my hitting and also focus on my defense and base running.”
Diaz, 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds, was acquired by the Indians in a trade with the Seattle Mariners on June 27, 2010, along with outfielder Ezequiel Carrera for infielder Russell Branyan.
Diaz batted .255 last season for the Aeros with 133 hits in 522 at-bats, nine home runs, 60 RBI and 64 runs scored.
“The best thing I have seen out of him the first week is that he is picking up where he left off last year,” Aeros manager Chris Tremie said.
Tremie said Diaz, a Bani, Dominican Republic native, has made improvements hitting and defensively. In six games, Diaz has made no errors.
The Aeros held the top spot in the Eastern League’s Western Division coming into Friday with a 4-2 record.
“It’s been a good first week,” Tremie said. “So far we have pitched really well, played really good defense and got some timely hits, too.”
The Thunder’s and Aeros’ rosters both feature a Stoneburner brother.
Davis Stoneburner, 27, started at second base for the Aeros and batted seventh. His younger brother, right-handed pitcher Graham Stoneburner, 24, is on the disabled list for the Thunder.
The brothers were both born in Richmond, Va.
Hernandez called up
Catcher Michel Hernandez was promoted to Triple-A Columbus prior to the game. There was not a move made immediately to fill the open roster spot.
Hernandez, 33, played in one game for the Aeros this season and went 2-for-4 with a run scored. He has appeared in 45 career major-league games with the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays.
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MBeavenABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.